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Old 02-28-2011, 07:51 PM   #1
Terry
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Default Overseers & Deacons

I would like recieve fellowship from any saint who has something to contribute to this topic. For starters, I present these verses from 1 Timothy 3:1-13

3:1Faithful is the saying, If a man seeketh the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 3:2The bishop therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, orderly, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3:3no brawler, no striker; but gentle, not contentious, no lover of money; 3:4one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 3:5(but if a man knoweth not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 3:6not a novice, lest being puffed up he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 3:7Moreover he must have good testimony from them that are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. 3:8Deacons in like manner must be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 3:9holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 3:10And let these also first be proved; then let them serve as deacons, if they be blameless. 3:11Women in like manner must be grave, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. 3:12Let deacons be husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 3:13For they that have served well as deacons gain to themselves a good standing, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
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Old 02-28-2011, 08:39 PM   #2
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Default Re: Overseers & Deacons

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I would like receive fellowship from any saint who has something to contribute to this topic. For starters, I present these verses from 1 Timothy 3:1-13
Firstly, these verses address the legitimacy of the office of the elders and deacons in the churches. If we don't establish this, then we reduce these offices to token "rubber stamps," while the "real" leadership in the churches will be a pastor, a worker, a reverend, or the like.

What is truly unique about the elders is their plurality as a safeguard to the churches. Elders, as the verses indicate, are mature men who oversee the children of God as shepherds much like a father oversees his own family.
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: Overseers & Deacons

...Checking with www.Biblegateway.com, I see that the term "Bishop" quoted here (from the KJV) is rendered as "Overseer" in the NIV, ASB, and ESV Bibles amongst others, and as "Elder" in the NLT. Apart from the NLT, I don't find "Elder" used (even in the RcV) - and the Amplified version translates this term as "bishop (superintendent, overseer)".

The word "overseer (or bishop or elder) is Strongs ref #1984 - and in the Greek is "episkope" - which is defined as "overseership, office, charge, the office of an elder: the overseer or presiding officers of a Christian church".

Sorry Terry - always try to dissect a verse in question to see for myself which rendering might be most correct...

My feeling is that "elder" can be an adequate translation of the term, and that the connotations we get from "bishop" - a formal office within both the Catholic as well as a number of different denominational churches - perhaps confuses the true meaning here. Bishops were given both clerical and administrative power over a larger geographical area (called a Diocese or a Bishopric). Priests would have reported to Bishops, Bishops to Arch-Bishops, and so on. However, nowhere in this verse you have quoted is there any indication that the "bishop" or "overseer" referred to would have any administrative authority - but rather that they would, I believe, exemplify the normal Christian life amongst the believers with whom they fellowshipped. This is what an elder should do.

As for Deacon, I haven't researched that one yet - and it's getting late and I took a NeoCitron, so I'm going to go to bed. I'll post more later!

Good night saints,

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Old 03-01-2011, 06:49 AM   #4
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Default Re: Overseers & Deacons

Except for taking NFNL's suggestion to eliminate the strange wording of the translation "bishop" along with a desire to read in a less contorted rendering (meaning in more modern English), it is rather straightforward. Those that oversee the church should be exemplary in their private lives and in their public lives, even among the unbelievers. Same for those who help them in carrying out the ministry.

Baggage related to these comes from somewhere else. Probably not from scripture. Same analysis applies to the RCC as to the LRC and others.

It would seem that several denominations that operate under the oversight of elders do a pretty good job in this area — probably better than the LRC. We may want to find fault in the notion that the elders are elected rather than appointed, but that does place even the elders under oversight, taking away thoughts of some kind of right or power.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:09 PM   #5
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Default Re: Overseers & Deacons

I've used two online bible sites. One used the term Bishop and the other overseer. Terminology aside, can we concurr the basic function is to provide oversight?
Back to the thread, my basic concept of Overseers and Deacons are brothers with a measure of spiritual maturity, having been married to one wife, and have raised and led their children to Christ. In physical age Overseers and Deacons are in the late 40's-early 50's at least. That would explain their spiritual maturity along with an experience in life when faced with marriage or children crisis from saints whom they're shepherding.
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Old 03-01-2011, 05:30 PM   #6
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I would concur with that Terry.
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Old 03-01-2011, 06:20 PM   #7
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I think the verses on the Bishop suggest how important the family is in the church. What we really need more than anything else is for our leaders to set an example on what a Godly husband and father is like. Charismatic speakers are not important and Paul doesn't give that any weight at all. You may argue that some speakers can fill a meeting hall with thousands of people. Paul would argue, if you build up strong families then the church will continue from one generation to the next, if your children are in subjection then the church will double from one generation to the next. If you try to grow through charismatic leaders while ignoring all the other criteria then you are asking for scandals, corruption, sin, and the ultimate collapse of everything you have built up.
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Old 03-02-2011, 07:40 AM   #8
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Default Re: Overseers & Deacons

Are we looking for proof of the importance of the family? Look at the list again:
  1. Above reproach
  2. Faithful to his wife
  3. Temperate
  4. Self-controlled
  5. Respectable
  6. Hospitable
  7. Able to teach
  8. Not given to drunkenness
  9. Not violent but gentle
  10. Not quarrelsome
  11. Not a lover of money
  12. Must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)
  13. Must not be a recent convert (not a novice??) (or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil)
  14. Must also have a good reputation with outsiders (so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap)
Fourteen items. One is about having one wife. One is about family/children.

How do we conclude that "more than anything else" it is about family? (Nothing specific. I used the words of one but the sentiment is not singular.)

And do we really conclude that it takes someone at least in their late 40s? What was the average lifespan when Paul was writing? Yes, we have our writings of the day from those who probably lived a bit longer than that. But it was not the norm. So many were disqualified simply because they could not live long enough.

It seems to me that the last three items on Paul's list were a little more verbose, and had a "because" attached to them so that it would be understood why they were included. Not suggesting that they were afterthoughts or also-rans. But needed a little more explanation.

Yet we jump on the two out of 11 that we think are most important, and declare it to be so.

Maybe we really do need someone outside our assembly to appoint elders for us. We would be so focused on this one area that we would ignore their reputation outside the church, or their lack of hospitality, or their self control. If Paul really thought that looking at how they dealt with their family proved the others, then why mention them. They become redundant.

And how do we really know whether a person is really dealing with the family in the manner Paul says? By observing from the outside? That can hide a lot. It takes the whole package.

And where does it state, or even suggest, that they must have raised and led their children to Christ? "Christ," or any alternate, is not mentioned in this context. Are we really reading Paul's list, or are we taking two out of 11 and expanding those two in a different way.


But I'm not so sure that an outsider can really do the job for us. I can name at least one that was sent to Dallas who was:
  • Not violent, but far from gentle
  • Quarrelsome
  • A lover of money (scamming the offering box to avoid paying taxes — and charges concerning money was at least one reason that he was somewhat ousted from another place years later)
  • Too old to know about his family (other than the fact that his only child — a daughter — was divorced and about to marry another — a fact that does not necessarily reflect on the father or even necessarily on her)
But all-in-all, not above reproach.

Do we honestly think that anyone outside a person's household can tell enough to use that as the primary criteria for inclusion or exclusion? I would suggest that failure in any is criteria for exclusion. Success in none is sufficient unless in all. Paul gave 11 windows into the character of a man. He may be successful in some, or at least appear to be. But if there is a problem, he can not hide it with respect to all. Somewhere in that list his true colors will shine through.

If the topic is how to raise your family, then there is something to learn here, along with other verses.

But the topic is overseers and deacons. It is not how to raise your family. These verses should give a little instruction toward raising our families because in mentioning it, it directs us toward a life that is observably complete in righteousness. But that is not their purpose. The purpose was/is to provide sufficient windows into a man to qualify or disqualify him for an important role in the church.

Where do we intend to take a thread with the title "Overseers and Deacons"? I'll accept either. But if we say we are going to follow the title, then I might be a thorn to a lot of discussion about family values and the ignoring of so much else.
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Old 03-02-2011, 10:28 AM   #9
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Default Re: Overseers & Deacons

MikeH, thorns are healthy for fellowship. It's a way of providing balance. When it comes to families, overseers/deacons (depending on the church you attend) from a practical perspective, will counsel familes they're responsble for. I'm inclined to recieve counsel from an overseer/deacon who's been married 30 years when receiving advice on marriage. I'm inclined to receive counsel from an overseer/deacon on teenagers from one who's been there, done that.
Qualifications far exceed two points based on marriage and children. That being said in this thread pf overseers and deacons I've seen inconsistincies in religion compared to Paul's letter to Timothy. Maybe I'm being legalistic and maybe I'm not willing to allow certain practices become what's expedient. Have we as Christians been muted by religion to become too accepting?
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Old 03-02-2011, 12:39 PM   #10
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Firstly, these verses address the legitimacy of the office of the elders and deacons in the churches. If we don't establish this, then we reduce these offices to token "rubber stamps," while the "real" leadership in the churches will be a pastor, a worker, a reverend, or the like.

What is truly unique about the elders is their plurality as a safeguard to the churches. Elders, as the verses indicate, are mature men who oversee the children of God as shepherds much like a father oversees his own family.
I have yet to expound, churches vary in scope or responsibility for overseers and deacons. Where I'm meeting now, I have yet to learn where the scope of deacons responsibility lies.
Amen! The plurality of elders is a safeguard for the church. We as Christians who submit to elders, must guard the plurality of elders from becoming a hierarchy. In the local churches, in some places the plurality has been guarded and in other places, not.
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Old 03-04-2011, 01:18 PM   #11
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And do we really conclude that it takes someone at least in their late 40s?
The reference for my concept is in 1 Timothy 3:10

"They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons."

What is it to be tested? Passing a class? Proving loyalty? Those who know the Greek, what did Paul mean or imply to be tested? My concept to be tested will require a number a years. You could have been a Christian for a week, a year, five years, etc. I'm not sure that's long enough to for a brother to gain spiritual maturity required for a deacon's responsibility.
If a deacon's responsibility is nothing more than administrative in nature, then maybe you don't need to be tested by time in how I read 1 Timothy 3:10.
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Old 03-05-2011, 01:09 PM   #12
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Are we looking for proof of the importance of the family? Look at the list again:
  1. Above reproach
  2. Faithful to his wife
  3. Temperate
  4. Self-controlled
  5. Respectable
  6. Hospitable
  7. Able to teach
  8. Not given to drunkenness
  9. Not violent but gentle
  10. Not quarrelsome
  11. Not a lover of money
  12. Must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)
  13. Must not be a recent convert (not a novice??) (or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil)
  14. Must also have a good reputation with outsiders (so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap)
Fourteen items. One is about having one wife. One is about family/children.

How do we conclude that "more than anything else" it is about family?
How do I look at this list and conclude that we are missing the importance of family? Simple, many of these mega churches (and other smaller congregations) have leaders that would be disqualified based on issues with their marriage and family. These issues are ignored because of their "gift" and "charisma". Why do we have the common concept of the "pastor's son" being wild? Some of these items are not black and white (temperate, self controlled, respectable, able to teach, etc). There is a range of acceptable behavior. But clearly, if you are not "the husband of one wife" or if you do not "manage well your own household" then you are disqualified. No doubt there is a range of behavior of children, but lets be realistic, this is completely ignored in many cases.

Paul doesn't give any weight at all to charisma or "gift" in this list. Personally if someone were a drunk or violent or not above reproach we still would probably disqualify them. So most congregations do not ignore those charges. But how about "hospitable", really? For every example you can name of a Church leader being "hospitable" you can name at least two who have no clue what you are talking about.
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Old 03-05-2011, 01:17 PM   #13
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And do we really conclude that it takes someone at least in their late 40s? What was the average lifespan when Paul was writing? Yes, we have our writings of the day from those who probably lived a bit longer than that. But it was not the norm. So many were disqualified simply because they could not live long enough.
The average lifespan at the time of Paul is irrelevant for choosing an elder (or Bishop) today. Children were married at the age of 13 and could therefore be grandparents by 40, but that is not relevant to today.

The age is simple, how could someone be the husband of one wife unless they were married? Likewise, how can we know that they manage their family well if their children are still in elementary school? I figure that this person had to be over 18 and most likely over 20 when they married, that they have at least one child that is also 18 or older. It is very unusual in this day to do that before you are 40. If you live in a society in which men marry at age 16 then you could revise this age downward, I was speaking for the US.
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Old 03-05-2011, 01:22 PM   #14
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Yet we jump on the two out of 11 that we think are most important, and declare it to be so.

Maybe we really do need someone outside our assembly to appoint elders for us. We would be so focused on this one area that we would ignore their reputation outside the church, or their lack of hospitality, or their self control. If Paul really thought that looking at how they dealt with their family proved the others, then why mention them. They become redundant.
You are correct and I apologize if I gave this impression. My point was that from my own observation we currently do look at things like "above reproach", "apt to teach", "respectable" etc. Yet, often people are selected who should clearly be disqualified based on "being the husband of one wife" or based on "managing their family well".

For example, I saw many elders appointed who either did not have children or whose children were not even in elementary school. How on earth do you know that this person manages his own household well? Clearly he is a novice. Why do we accept these choices? Because we do not appreciate how important the family is in the choice of being an elder. It is not simply being a respectable brother who is above reproach and is apt to teach.
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Old 03-05-2011, 01:27 PM   #15
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I would suggest that failure in any is criteria for exclusion. Success in none is sufficient unless in all. Paul gave 11 windows into the character of a man. He may be successful in some, or at least appear to be. But if there is a problem, he can not hide it with respect to all. Somewhere in that list his true colors will shine through.
My point was exactly this. My experience is that all elders that I have seen have to some degree, at least as far as I was aware met these criteria, except there were cases where they clearly had not managed their own family well or were not the husband of one wife. So my question was why? Why do we ignore the fact that they should be disqualified? My feeling is that we over value "gift" and undervalue the importance of setting an example to the congregation on having a solid family life.
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Old 03-05-2011, 08:00 PM   #16
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How do I look at this list and conclude that we are missing the importance of family? Simple, many of these mega churches (and other smaller congregations) have leaders that would be disqualified based on issues with their marriage and family. These issues are ignored because of their "gift" and "charisma". Why do we have the common concept of the "pastor's son" being wild? Some of these items are not black and white (temperate, self controlled, respectable, able to teach, etc). There is a range of acceptable behavior. But clearly, if you are not "the husband of one wife" or if you do not "manage well your own household" then you are disqualified. No doubt there is a range of behavior of children, but lets be realistic, this is completely ignored in many cases.

Paul doesn't give any weight at all to charisma or "gift" in this list. Personally if someone were a drunk or violent or not above reproach we still would probably disqualify them. So most congregations do not ignore those charges. But how about "hospitable", really? For every example you can name of a Church leader being "hospitable" you can name at least two who have no clue what you are talking about.
Excellent points ZNP.

Paul fought this same battle in the early church with the "super-apostles." They had great and gifted ministries, yet when it came to qualifications of elders, he never listed these as qualifications. Why is it that the IRS seems to have more discernment concerning who is a worthy minister, than the churches of God have? Many ministers would still be on TV if the IRS had not busted them.

It is today's "super-apostles" or Tel-Evangelists which really have brought so much shame to the Lord's name. Don't talk about home much they "do," rather let's talk about how many refuse to believe in the Savior due to their hypocrisy. Their fame and power just ruins them. Recently they caught Benny Hinn and Paula White "holding hands" in Rome. Now both of them and their supporters have to lie about that video clip in order keep their reputations "clean" and the "love" offerings flowing in.

LSM has been no better in this regard. How many godly and beloved brothers like John Ingalls et. al. were literally thrown under the bus in order to protect WL's "clean" name and the moneys flowing, lest the word get out about his sons' infidelities and corruptions at LSM?
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:00 AM   #17
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The average lifespan at the time of Paul is irrelevant for choosing an elder (or Bishop) today. Children were married at the age of 13 and could therefore be grandparents by 40, but that is not relevant to today.

The age is simple, how could someone be the husband of one wife unless they were married? Likewise, how can we know that they manage their family well if their children are still in elementary school? I figure that this person had to be over 18 and most likely over 20 when they married, that they have at least one child that is also 18 or older. It is very unusual in this day to do that before you are 40. If you live in a society in which men marry at age 16 then you could revise this age downward, I was speaking for the US.
How can we know enough about the spiritual life of a family when they have only been "spiritual" for 5 years? Doesn't matter the age of the children then.

My point was not that family does not matter. It is that it is only one of the 11 that needs to be right. (And no one said "only" but the rush to focus on one ignores the rest.) Pointing to where someone ignored the family does not mean that there are not plenty where the family looked great but something else was overlooked. Turning and eleven point test into a three point test is not made good because you think you know what the best three are.

Go ahead and point at some prime example of a problem created when one of your three are missed. If they get those three right, will you ignore those who fail in one of the other eight because they got the family right? Is that any better than the one you focus on?

And for whoever made a comment about whether they can counsel on family or marriage, what about counseling on many other issues. Do you esteem certain issues as important and presume that you can handle the others on your own? Is the need in that part of the Christian family on their own because qualification of an elder in that area is not as important to you because you think another area trumps it?

All I'm saying is that putting back in balance is not the same as shifting the emphasis. A shifted emphasis just covers a different base at the expense of another. Not saying that you intend this. But that is the cost of simply changing the emphasis.
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Old 03-06-2011, 12:06 PM   #18
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My real concern is not that we are talking about the family. It is that it is being done somewhat under a different topic. Qualifications for elder is one thing. Centering almost exclusively on the family is not the same thing.

And now one has suggested that someone who never has children is simply disqualified. On what basis? Just because they didn't have the opportunity to govern their children well? That kind of approach to the list smacks of legalism that does no one any real good. And it means that someone who is otherwise the most truly qualified, and willing to serve in the best way is disqualified because there are no children? I don't think so.

If they have children, the way in which they deal with them is important. But he fact that they choose, at least at the present, to rebel or even to forgo the Christian faith and way is not necessarily a mark against the father. How did they deal with their family is the question. Not how did the independent wills that he had to deal with respond.

I will agree that a young unmarried man who still has human challenges ahead of him in terms of even worldly maturity is probably not a good choice. But that is not simply because he is not faithful to one wife or hasn't led a household in an exemplary manner. It is because he is a novice. He has not really faced the world — at least not all of it.
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Old 03-06-2011, 01:56 PM   #19
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And now one has suggested that someone who never has children is simply disqualified. On what basis? Just because they didn't have the opportunity to govern their children well? That kind of approach to the list smacks of legalism that does no one any real good.
Not at all. It depends on what the reasons are. If a man is against marriage, how can he lead the church? If a man is against having children, how can he help the children of God? It's all about character, not legalism. This is not some checklist for a headhunter, but an antidote and solution to the church's leadership problems, and that is sorely needed today.
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Old 03-06-2011, 06:34 PM   #20
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And now one has suggested that someone who never has children is simply disqualified. On what basis? Just because they didn't have the opportunity to govern their children well? That kind of approach to the list smacks of legalism that does no one any real good. And it means that someone who is otherwise the most truly qualified, and willing to serve in the best way is disqualified because there are no children? I don't think so.
1 Tim 3:5 "For if a man know not how to rule his own house how shall he take care of the church of God"?

Disqualified from what? He can be an evangelist. There is no requirement to first raise a family before being an evangelist. He could be a prophet, there is no requirement to raise a family before speaking the word of God. He can teach, he can shepherd, he can function in any and all gifts. He can pray, he can worship, what is it that he cannot do? Well, he cannot be a grandfather because he never had children.

Suppose you wanted to start a rock band and you were taking applications and you had the perfect applicant, he was above reproach, temperate, respectable, the husband of one wife, etc. Everything you wanted in a rock star, the only one small issue, he never played an instrument. But he always wanted to! He has read a book on it, he even has some video games on being a rock star. Would he be disqualified? I hope so.

OK, bad example, suppose you were hiring a nanny for your children (a more appropriate example). Again, she is perfect in every criteria except for one, she has never taken care of any children before. Would she be disqualified? Maybe not, if she is the best candidate what can you do, but I would hope that having good experience caring for children would figure very high in your calculation.

OK, not the best example, so lets get a better example, suppose you have a man that does meet the criteria in 1 Tim 3, and everyone is in agreement that this is the man they want for elder. However, he has misgivings because he never went to seminary. So you tell him that going to seminary is not a requirement, but he says that "being apt to teach" is a requirement and he is not comfortable with getting into theological debates. Therefore it is crucial to define this, apt to teach, to teach what? Is being willing to teach the theology concerning the triune God a criteria to being an elder? I don't think so. I think being willing to teach the saints to be temperate is, to teach them to be the husband of one wife is, to teach them to raise their families well is, to teach them to be above reproach and respectable is.

My point is this, here is a man that never had children, clearly his choice since he is married, respectable, beyond reproach, etc. so he could easily adopt children or he could be a foster parent. He chose not to do either but he wants to take care of the house of God? That seems weird to me.

Let's try some more examples: Michael Vick, is he beyond reproach? No. Is he a great quaterback? Yes. Is being beyond reproach a requirement for being a quarterback? No (just ask Rothlesberger). On the other hand would you want either to be an elder? I hope not. Would you disqualify them over this one or two mistakes? Yes. Most CEO's are type A personalities and are not "temperate". Is being temperate a requirement to being a good CEO? No. So these men could be great CEOs but not elders. An elder is not a CEO, he is not a quarterback.

He doesn't even need to teach that much. Just because a brother is a talented and gifted teacher doesn't mean he should be elder. Let the elders use this brother to teach. Simple. An elder does not need to be an evangelist. Let some other brother run the gospel meetings, that is fine. There are many members, many gifts. But at least on one level the church is the family of God and we need some fathers (you have many teachers but not many fathers).
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Old 03-06-2011, 06:53 PM   #21
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If they have children, the way in which they deal with them is important. But he fact that they choose, at least at the present, to rebel or even to forgo the Christian faith and way is not necessarily a mark against the father. How did they deal with their family is the question. Not how did the independent wills that he had to deal with respond.
"One that ruleth well his own house having his children in subjection in all gravity"

Please explain to me how what you have said concerning rebellion is not a direct contradiction to what Paul has explicitly put forth as a requirement. I would think that Paul's word clearly suggests that this man's family is a positive example for other saints. Obviously the children have independent wills, that is why it is a positive example when they choose of their own free will to do what is right.

I teach a NYC inner city High School. Having a classroom of children "in subjection in all gravity" is the mark of the best teachers. This will never happen if the children are bored, frustrated, confused, etc. Likewise, everything else is secondary. You can talk about what a great teacher you are, but if the class is not in subjection you will be an ineffective teacher.

You seem to balk at how high a test this is, yes, it is an extremely high test to be judged based on your children. But the Lord said you should judge a tree by its fruit. And this is quite reasonable. The big debate today is to judge teachers based on how well their students do on exams, etc. I am quite open to this, and if I was judged based on the students I had from September to June I'd be very happy.
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Old 03-06-2011, 08:24 PM   #22
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My real concern is not that we are talking about the family. It is that it is being done somewhat under a different topic. Qualifications for elder is one thing. Centering almost exclusively on the family is not the same thing.
It's one component. Please take into account many elders function as counselors within their church. How could an elder or deacon for that matter offer counsel to a couple about children when he doesn't have children.

In practice standards have been lowered to what's acceptable for elders and deacons. At what point is enough is enough by lowering standards?
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:31 PM   #23
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Just a thought brethren:

Admittedly, the portions referred to in Scripture here are about the functions of Elders and Deacons in the churches... but from the way this discussion going, I get the feeling that we are putting too much emphasis on their functions when we should be putting more on our own.

Are we so interested in judging the fitness of these ones (elders and deacons), that we have lost sight of what we must do to contribute to the building up of the Body of Christ ourselves? Perhaps we are the ones called to be Elders and Deacons, or perhaps if we see an Elder or Deacon stumble, we should be the ones to help pick them up - and not demote them or send them packing.

The Lord is far more interested in our individual walk with Him than He is with our directing the traffic within our churches. Ultimately, we only answer for ourselves - and if we walk according to Him, He will ensure we are lead in the right direction - and He will be able to use us greatly wherever He places us... for He places each member in the Body where He will...

1 Corinthians 12:21-26 " The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."

Romans 12:4-5 "For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."

In Christ,

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Old 03-06-2011, 11:22 PM   #24
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Just a thought brethren:

Admittedly, the portions referred to in Scripture here are about the functions of Elders and Deacons in the churches... but from the way this discussion going, I get the feeling that we are putting too much emphasis on their functions when we should be putting more on our own.

1 Corinthians 12:21-26 " The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."

Romans 12:4-5 "For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."
Excellent verses. My emphasis has been on standard. What exactly is the standard that qualifies elders and deacons? Is the Bible still the standard? Has the standard gone to social acceptance as our grading curve? If I'm being legal, I can live with it. What I have witnessed several weeks ago is the fuse to this thread. My concerns were always there, only dormant. The vision I have, the church must match the Chrsit in order to be the bride. Anything less is unacceptable. Maybe I'm one of the few who feels this way, expediency has become the norm. The churchlife should not be this way.
Ideally an elder is just another brother in a locality. If you were to visit, you wouldn't know who the elders where until their oversight was required.
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:28 AM   #25
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Just a thought brethren:

Admittedly, the portions referred to in Scripture here are about the functions of Elders and Deacons in the churches... but from the way this discussion going, I get the feeling that we are putting too much emphasis on their functions when we should be putting more on our own.
Good point.

And while it may have some application, the reason the Recovery had so many loyal "worker bees" such as myself, is that we were continually trained to serve in silence, and not to hold our leaders to the responsibilities that were theirs. We also enabled them with powers which never were rightfully theirs.
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Old 03-07-2011, 12:51 PM   #26
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1 Corinthians 12:21-26 " The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."
I've always like the verse NeitherFirstNorLast has presented. It's a picture every member is needed. No matter how long or how short you've been a Christian. No matter what you're personal feeling my be towards another brother or sister, they're still needed.
Whenever I read a report or hear a testimony of a saint being excluded from fellowship, I remember this verse.
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Old 03-07-2011, 04:16 PM   #27
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I would like recieve fellowship from any saint who has something to contribute to this topic. For starters, I present these verses from 1 Timothy 3:1-13

3:1Faithful is the saying, If a man seeketh the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 3:2The bishop therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, orderly, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3:3no brawler, no striker; but gentle, not contentious, no lover of money; 3:4one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 3:5(but if a man knoweth not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 3:6not a novice, lest being puffed up he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 3:7Moreover he must have good testimony from them that are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. 3:8Deacons in like manner must be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 3:9holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 3:10And let these also first be proved; then let them serve as deacons, if they be blameless. 3:11Women in like manner must be grave, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. 3:12Let deacons be husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 3:13For they that have served well as deacons gain to themselves a good standing, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
I would point out that it is essential for a church to have strong leadership. Without getting nutty a healthy church will be riding the waves of a stormy sea and dealing with spiritual warfare. Your leaders need to be able to stand strong, they need to stand on their own feet without being beholden to someone at headquarters, they need to counsel saints in many crazy situations including run ins with the law and lots of bankruptcies.

You want elders that can provide fellowship concerning finances, legal issues, raising kids, and a host of other situations without them being consumed trying to raise their own family, or take care of their own problems at home.

Is it possible to find one person that can do it all, probably not. But a group of elders could do it all and that would be a huge blessing to the church. In addition, it is not necessary that they share all the messages, having elders that select young brothers to train can be a healthy way for a church to move forward.
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Old 03-08-2011, 10:29 AM   #28
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Not at all. It depends on what the reasons are. If a man is against marriage, how can he lead the church? If a man is against having children, how can he help the children of God? It's all about character, not legalism. This is not some checklist for a headhunter, but an antidote and solution to the church's leadership problems, and that is sorely needed today.
Don't forget that Paul suggested that everyone might be better off refraining from marriage. Where would that leave this snippet from his letter Timothy if they had taken his word to heart?

And you say it is about character, not legalism. Have you read the comments from some of the others? They seem thoroughly convinced that a man without children is simply not qualified. I might suggest that finding the entire plurality of elders in an assembly to be Stepford Wives in terms of identical characteristics, including none with children, might suggest that there is something (seriously) amiss. But it is not simply that they do not have children. It is something else.

And, in a different way, NFNL is also having some difficulty with this topic, at least in the way that it is heading.

My problem is that we may have thrown off the tyranny of Lee and the BBs, but we are rushing to fill that void with a different kind of legalism. One that corrects certain errors and creates a few more in the process. They may not be as significant, but they are errors, even if only because we want to demand them.

I think that we are best served by those who actually serve us. Some may have children, some may not. And I might point out that a lot of our teachings concerning raising children comes from writers who had none.

And when you, or someone you are close to (like your own children when they are dealing with their children) needs help with a problem child, I don't think that the nice guy whose children were exemplary in all ways is necessarily the person I need to be hearing from. I need some insight from the person who had a difficult child — even one who would still stand out as a "black sheep." I need the elder/counselor whose son is a problem at school and needs ADD medications. Or a counselor who has studied and dealt with a myriad of situations.

It is a little like when someone who has never lost a close relative tries to console someone with factoids like "Isn't it wonderful that they are in heaven now?" Not really. We want them here with us now. We aren't grieving over their newfound home in heaven (assuming that is actually where they are — and I'm not so sure that is true). We are grieving our loss. A doctrinal discussion of why we should rejoice, or pick-me-up slogans just make things worse.

And in this case, we a trying to create a legalism for elders that is beyond the scope of even the plain words of Paul. We think we know what those words mean. But do we? What does it mean to manage your family well, to see to it that your children obey you, and to do it in a manner worthy of respect? Are we sure that it means that there have to be children, or that the life of the family is a respected life? It is probable that it is spoken in the manner that it is because it is presumed that there will be children, in which case the manner of dealing with them is important. But here is 2011 we think that it is about qualifications for counseling others in the raising of children. Where did that come from?
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Old 03-08-2011, 12:12 PM   #29
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Suppose you wanted to start a rock band and you were taking applications and you had the perfect applicant, he was above reproach, temperate, respectable, the husband of one wife, etc. Everything you wanted in a rock star, the only one small issue, he never played an instrument. But he always wanted to! He has read a book on it, he even has some video games on being a rock star. Would he be disqualified? I hope so.

OK, bad example,
And I will agree with you on that one phrase. The job of being an elder is not herding cats, or simply being a counselor for others raising children. It is not some narrowly-focused undertaking, like playing guitar in a rock band. Want to talk about a bad example, it stands as a terrible strawman. And I think you know it.

But the rest of your examples really do no better. They do talk about being a person raising or caring for children. But where is that given as the job description for an elder? Why do we suppose that the reason for this item in the qualifications list is a job description when none of the others really are? They are all character studies. And even the childless couple has evidence of character, just not that particular detail. Do we really think that Paul laid out this list of eleven items, all of which are about the character of an elder, except for this one item, #9 on the list, which is both about the nature of the job of being an elder and a character reference. And while I will grant that an unmarried man might be missing that one aspect from which to observe character, if this one is so singularly important, why is it #9 (#9, #9, #9)?

"That guy is sooooo poor. And we don't observe him trying to hoard what little he has. Of course, with that little money, you can't hoard and survive. So I guess we can't really tell if he is a lover of money. Disqualified! Next! Oh, this one has no children. His wife is barren. Disqualified! Next!"

The Holy Grail for culling candidates for elder. Is that what this list is to you?
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Old 03-08-2011, 01:13 PM   #30
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And I will agree with you on that one phrase. The job of being an elder is not herding cats, or simply being a counselor for others raising children. It is not some narrowly-focused undertaking, like playing guitar in a rock band. Want to talk about a bad example, it stands as a terrible strawman. And I think you know it.
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But the rest of your examples really do no better. They do talk about being a person raising or caring for children. But where is that given as the job description for an elder?
1. One that ruleth well his own house having his children in subjection -- prerequisite, not a job description.

2. "If a man know not how to rule his own house how shall he take care of the house of God" -- this is a job description, his job is to take care of the house of God. His qualification is how well he has taken care of his own house.

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Why do we suppose that the reason for this item in the qualifications list is a job description when none of the others really are? They are all character studies. And even the childless couple has evidence of character, just not that particular detail. Do we really think that Paul laid out this list of eleven items, all of which are about the character of an elder, except for this one item, #9 on the list, which is both about the nature of the job of being an elder and a character reference. And while I will grant that an unmarried man might be missing that one aspect from which to observe character, if this one is so singularly important, why is it #9 (#9, #9, #9)?
I expect that any church would be selecting an elder from a small list of candidates. I expect they will choose what they feel is the best qualified candidate. That candidate probably will not be "perfect". However, what I have seen is that churches select candidates based on criteria that Paul did not give (Charisma, gifted teacher, etc.) and ignore the criteria that he did give. Also, what I have seen is that there are brothers in congregations, typically 55-70, they do fit the bill very well, and yet a 35 - 45 year old brother is chosen who doesn't fit the bill.

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"That guy is sooooo poor. And we don't observe him trying to hoard what little he has. Of course, with that little money, you can't hoard and survive. So I guess we can't really tell if he is a lover of money. Disqualified! Next! Oh, this one has no children. His wife is barren. Disqualified! Next!"
I have no idea what you are talking about. In my experience what you have is a short list of "good" brothers, 3-4, no one is saying "disqualified", instead they are trying to decide who the "best" choice is. Yet it always seems to me that the "best" choice is seemingly disconnected from the criteria Paul set forth to help us judge.

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The Holy Grail for culling candidates for elder. Is that what this list is to you?
1st, I see the list as a list of criteria to help us judge. Had Paul said that the brother needs to be a prevailing teacher, one that can fill a meeting hall, then I would consider that important. But since he didn't say that and instead said that the brother needs to be one who has led his family well, therefore I consider that an important criteria.

2nd, I think this choice is really crucial. I believe one reason that WL was able to do many of the things he did was because he installed "weak" elders, and it is very important that a church understand what an elder was and why. Choosing a young man with a new family makes him weak. How does a man, with young children buck the system and lose his "job".

3rd, I think an elder has to be held in high regard to be effective. I am approximately 50, I have given myself to the Lord since my 13th birthday. It would be very difficult for me to hold an elder who is 40 in high regard. Personally I think I am disqualified from this position, but I do appreciate that those that aspire to this desire to do a good work. I think the 30 or 40 year old brother should be a deacon, not an elder.

You are portraying this as "legalistic" I feel it is common sense.

You are also disregarding the harm that is done to good brothers that are too young or not suitable for this position and yet are selected for it. I have seen more than a few, maybe even more than 10 good brothers that became elders while they still had very young families and it was too soon. As a result they had to later withdraw and suffered a certain level of condemnation.
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Old 03-08-2011, 01:30 PM   #31
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I think that we are best served by those who actually serve us. Some may have children, some may not. And I might point out that a lot of our teachings concerning raising children comes from writers who had none.
I have a lot of appreciation for the apostle Paul, but by his own admission he was not qualified to be an elder. So what, he had his function and he provided a wonderful service to the Body of Christ.

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And when you, or someone you are close to (like your own children when they are dealing with their children) needs help with a problem child, I don't think that the nice guy whose children were exemplary in all ways is necessarily the person I need to be hearing from.
Anyone who has raised children knows there is no such person.

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I need some insight from the person who had a difficult child — even one who would still stand out as a "black sheep." I need the elder/counselor whose son is a problem at school and needs ADD medications. Or a counselor who has studied and dealt with a myriad of situations.
Exactly my point.

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It is a little like when someone who has never lost a close relative tries to console someone with factoids like "Isn't it wonderful that they are in heaven now?" Not really. We want them here with us now. We aren't grieving over their newfound home in heaven (assuming that is actually where they are — and I'm not so sure that is true). We are grieving our loss. A doctrinal discussion of why we should rejoice, or pick-me-up slogans just make things worse.
Yes, funerals are another important function for an elder and you surely want someone who is mature to do that.
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And in this case, we a trying to create a legalism for elders that is beyond the scope of even the plain words of Paul.
Nope. I am not at all interested in going beyond the plain words of Paul.

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We think we know what those words mean. But do we? What does it mean to manage your family well, to see to it that your children obey you, and to do it in a manner worthy of respect? Are we sure that it means that there have to be children,
Are we sure that when Paul said that an elder is to have his own children in subjection in all gravity that this means that there have to be children? Are you trying to be funny?

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or that the life of the family is a respected life? It is probable that it is spoken in the manner that it is because it is presumed that there will be children, in which case the manner of dealing with them is important.
I think it means that when you are considering a brother to be chosen as elder the committee would ask "has he managed his own family well?" And if everyone in the committee feels he has then that is it.

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But here is 2011 we think that it is about qualifications for counseling others in the raising of children. Where did that come from?
Where did this comment come from? I think you are referring to something that was said that this is one of the jobs typical of an elder. Yes, very often elders are asked for fellowship in how to deal with children, this is particularly true of single mothers. I have never been in a congregation where this was not the case. The comment was made in reference to Paul's word about managing his family well and having his children in subjection.
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Old 03-09-2011, 06:52 AM   #32
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ZNP,

In reference to my comment about qualifications to counsel those with children, you write:
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Where did this comment come from? I think you are referring to something that was said that this is one of the jobs typical of an elder. Yes, very often elders are asked for fellowship in how to deal with children, this is particularly true of single mtohers. I have never been in a congregation where this was not the case. The comment was made in reference to Paul's word about managing his family well and having his children in subjection.
You may not have specifically said this. But it has been said. It is part of what I have observed to be a "spend all our discussion of these 11 characteristics talking about one of them" mentality. You have given some brief discussion of other characteristics. And while you may not have made that statement, it is one of the thoughts that is combining into this one-trick-pony mentality.

If there is a problem with the age and maturity of some elder somewhere, it might be that the most on-point issue on the list is "not a novice." Sometimes people esteem things that can be seen in the relative young and they miss the lack of "total package." I have never said that failing to deal properly with whatever family you have is something to ignore. I've said that focusing on whether there is some formula of family members that the man has dealt with properly seems to be an over-application of the meaning of Paul. Paul is saying to make note of how he deals with his family. He is not saying that we should simply ignore those who don't have enough family for some yardstick. He is saying that they should have a level or respect in how they deal with what they have.

I might say that having neither children nor wife (ever) could suggest questions that might not be easily answered. Even in this day and age, it is peculiar for a man to remain single beyond the time that he has truly matured and even seasoned in other ways. It makes me want to take a second look. But if it turns out that there is no other grounds for disqualifications, I'm not sure that I can simply disqualify them over it.

And that is what some of your colleagues have been saying. "No children — can't be an elder." And at least one said it was because they would be unqualified to counsel someone on child rearing. And that would mean that we need at least one elder who is actually a woman that has severe depression every month as PMS sets in since no man has ever experienced that and is incapable of discussion on it (assuming the "you have to have children to counsel about them" reasoning).

If you haven't caught on, I'm not directly arguing with you, but with a position that is so seriously focused on this one criteria out of 11 that it is being treated as the central theme of Paul's "who gets ot be an elder" discourse. And is the unstated topic of the thread rather than the general qualifications for elders. Whether you even considered the impact of having a discussion about raising children under the banner of who gets to be an elder is not clear. But besides a couple of quick remarks about two or three other items on the list, you have been totally focused on this one topic.

I suggested that if this is really about looking at the meaning of leading a household in general and not about elder qualifications, then the topic is a misnomer. It would seem that the intent is to make this one item so extremely important that all others can be dismissed and this one must not only be observed positively, but it must be observed sufficiently, with the requirement that there actually be children for a man to even be considered.
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Are we sure that when Paul said that an elder is to have his own children in subjection in all gravity that this means that there have to be children? Are you trying to be funny?
NO, I am not trying to be funny. Have you been reading the posts in this thread besides mine? In so many words that has been stated here. And rather directly. That is one of the main reasons that I have continued to take on this topic. It is not just a mis-labeled discussion on child rearing, but a discussion of one of 11 qualifications for elder as the end-all of qualifiers. You may not consider yourself one of those, but your statements have not separated you from them until that one comment. There probably is good reason for discussions about raising children. But I would not take it on in the manner that is happening here. Join it elsewhere. Start a thread that is simply on raising children.

In reference to another post, it is true that taking care of the house of God is the job description. But Paul's comment there is not that there is no way to allow someone who doesn't even provide this observation, but that if they do, and fail, then they cannot do it with God's house. Here is a more verbose (truly amplified) version of what Paul said. "How one deals with his family is very important. It is a window into his character. And if you don't understand how this one works, I'll tell you. If you can't properly deal with the household you have, we are not giving another one to mess with." That does not mean that a lack of providing this window to your satisfaction is grounds for disqualification. How you treat your wife is part of that, even if unstated. And it has nothing to do with whether you are faithful to her.

And I would rather that you first look at the whole of what I am saying rather than take it apart sentence-by sentence. Without the context, any one sentence may seem to mean something besides what I am saying. I try to focus on a passage that represents the flavor and direction of others' posts. When you comment on my brief portion about needing an elder who has a problem child with "exactly my point" I have a hard time figuring out what it is that you are saying. I'm saying that a wayward child is not a simple disqualification. Others have disagreed. Are you saying you agree with me? or with them? Or are you saying that only if they've managed to bring the wayward one into line should they be considered? Within the context of other statements I might conclude that you agree with those who would simply disqualify them, or do so if they cannot bring the one into line. In short, what exactly is your point?
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Old 03-09-2011, 05:29 PM   #33
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ZNP,

In reference to my comment about qualifications to counsel those with children, you write:You may not have specifically said this. But it has been said. It is part of what I have observed to be a "spend all our discussion of these 11 characteristics talking about one of them" mentality. You have given some brief discussion of other characteristics. And while you may not have made that statement, it is one of the thoughts that is combining into this one-trick-pony mentality.

Now why do you have to go and get insulting. We are discussing this one point because we don't agree. We are not discussing the other points because either we do agree or there hasn't been any discernible disagreement.

If there is a problem with the age and maturity of some elder somewhere, it might be that the most on-point issue on the list is "not a novice." Sometimes people esteem things that can be seen in the relative young and they miss the lack of "total package."

True, except what does this mean. I cannot recall ever seeing a "novice" appointed as an elder. What I have seen is 35 to 40 year old brothers who are married with small children appointed. Brothers who may have been saved for 20 years and grew up in the LC, or wherever. They aren't "novices" but neither do they fit the criteria in 1Tim and as a result you will see problems.

I have never said that failing to deal properly with whatever family you have is something to ignore. I've said that focusing on whether there is some formula of family members that the man has dealt with properly seems to be an over-application of the meaning of Paul. Paul is saying to make note of how he deals with his family. He is not saying that we should simply ignore those who don't have enough family for some yardstick. He is saying that they should have a level or respect in how they deal with what they have.

Well I think he is saying more than that. I thought of a really special experience that I had which I feel illustrates this, unfortunately it is kind of long. I think I will post it after this reply to your post.

I might say that having neither children nor wife (ever) could suggest questions that might not be easily answered. Even in this day and age, it is peculiar for a man to remain single beyond the time that he has truly matured and even seasoned in other ways. It makes me want to take a second look. But if it turns out that there is no other grounds for disqualifications, I'm not sure that I can simply disqualify them over it.

This is what really confuses me. If this person, similar to the Apostle Paul, does not have a wife or children it doesn't make me question him as a brother in Christ, but it makes me wonder why anyone would consider him to be an elder. I have always viewed an elder as a grandfather, kind of like the Godfather (that is the way we had to treat our elders in Houston). This guy without a family just does not seem suitable to be an elder.

And that is what some of your colleagues have been saying. "No children — can't be an elder." And at least one said it was because they would be unqualified to counsel someone on child rearing. And that would mean that we need at least one elder who is actually a woman that has severe depression every month as PMS sets in since no man has ever experienced that and is incapable of discussion on it (assuming the "you have to have children to counsel about them" reasoning).

That is why the elder is married, you have the elder's wife which Paul also discussed.

If you haven't caught on, I'm not directly arguing with you, but with a position that is so seriously focused on this one criteria out of 11 that it is being treated as the central theme of Paul's "who gets ot be an elder" discourse. And is the unstated topic of the thread rather than the general qualifications for elders. Whether you even considered the impact of having a discussion about raising children under the banner of who gets to be an elder is not clear. But besides a couple of quick remarks about two or three other items on the list, you have been totally focused on this one topic.

I have pointed out what is not on the list. I have discussed what "apt to teach" means, I was the one that brought up the point about a novice, I talked about being temperate and compared that with the typical CEO who is not "temperate". I have discussed being repectable and beyond reproach, two characteristics that you probably would not want in your lead guitar player on your rock and roll band, etc.

I suggested that if this is really about looking at the meaning of leading a household in general and not about elder qualifications, then the topic is a misnomer. It would seem that the intent is to make this one item so extremely important that all others can be dismissed and this one must not only be observed positively, but it must be observed sufficiently, with the requirement that there actually be children for a man to even be considered.

On the contrary I have pointed out that if any of the items is overlooked it is almost always this one.

[COLOR=#008000]NO, I am not trying to be funny. Have you been reading the posts in this thread besides mine? In so many words that has been stated here. And rather directly. That is one of the main reasons that I have continued to take on this topic. It is not just a mis-labeled discussion on child rearing, but a discussion of one of 11 qualifications for elder as the end-all of qualifiers.

I have said this before, but it bears repeating. In the end the church or congregation is going to choose the person they feel is the best candidate. All I am saying is that in my experience I feel they give too much weight to the young, charismatic man and overlook the older man who has managed his own household well. They judge him based on his testimonies in the Lord's table and assume that he'll be able to lead his family well even though he hasn't done it yet. Then a few years later this same "burning brother" has to withdraw from being an elder for the sake of his family.

Y
ou may not consider yourself one of those, but your statements have not separated you from them until that one comment. There probably is good reason for discussions about raising children. But I would not take it on in the manner that is happening here. Join it elsewhere. Start a thread that is simply on raising children.

What is the job of being an elder if not, at least in part, raising children? You are going to have lots of immature saints and new believers to shepherd. That is your job.

In reference to another post, it is true that taking care of the house of God is the job description. But Paul's comment there is not that there is no way to allow someone who doesn't even provide this observation, but that if they do, and fail, then they cannot do it with God's house. Here is a more verbose (truly amplified) version of what Paul said. "How one deals with his family is very important. It is a window into his character. And if you don't understand how this one works, I'll tell you. If you can't properly deal with the household you have, we are not giving another one to mess with." That does not mean that a lack of providing this window to your satisfaction is grounds for disqualification. How you treat your wife is part of that, even if unstated. And it has nothing to do with whether you are faithful to her.

And I would rather that you first look at the whole of what I am saying rather than take it apart sentence-by sentence. Without the context, any one sentence may seem to mean something besides what I am saying. I try to focus on a passage that represents the flavor and direction of others' posts. When you comment on my brief portion about needing an elder who has a problem child with "exactly my point" I have a hard time figuring out what it is that you are saying. I'm saying that a wayward child is not a simple disqualification. Others have disagreed. Are you saying you agree with me? or with them? Or are you saying that only if they've managed to bring the wayward one into line should they be considered? Within the context of other statements I might conclude that you agree with those who would simply disqualify them, or do so if they cannot bring the one into line. In short, what exactly is your point?
My point is that if you and I were on the committee to decide who would fill the post of elder I would probably be more concerned with how this one raised his family than you would. You would agree that it is one of 11 points to consider, whereas I would feel very strongly that I would rather go with the brother that by all accounts did manage his family well than with the brother who does not offer a window into that aspect of his character. I would not "disqualify" anyone, what I would do is decide who I felt was best suited for this position.
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Old 03-09-2011, 05:52 PM   #34
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I felt that this experience might help others understand my position better even though I realize it is not technically about an elder. To me, to be an effective elder means that you are leading the younger saints to grow in Christ and to walk by faith.

When I was in high school I was on a swim team for my boy scout troop. I had grown up swimming in the ocean and had been on a swim team at my beach for about 10 years. Two of the swimmers on our team had gone to Olympic trials, so we had some very good swimmers, but swimming in the ocean is very different than swimming in a pool. Anyway, I tried out for this team, it was a medley relay team, and I won the spot as the anchor swimming freestyle. I didn't know it at the time but this choice was very unpopular among the other 3 swimmers because unlike them I didn't do a flip turn, I did an open turn. (In the ocean there are waves and the floats move up and down, if you did a flip turn you would tear open your legs on the barnacles, so everyone did an open turn). So in our first race the other three swimmers decided to protest the selection, they did this by each giving up two body lengths. After the first swimmer I thought "no problem, if the next two guys can each get a body length back then it will be a dead heat when I swim". After the second guy I thought "no problem if the next swimmer can get half of this back, then I'll have to get the other half". But he also gave up two body lengths and so they had a six body length lead, which is insurmountable. But I thought "hey, he realizes I can't catch him, so maybe he won't swim that hard". I decided I'd swim the first half like it was a dead heat and then if I had a chance to catch him I'd lay it all out in the second half. Well when I got to the turn I realized the problem with this strategy, how could I possibly know if I had a chance to catch him? As I did my turn, right in my face was the coach yelling "go, go, go!" So I realized "hey, he must think I have a chance". So, I layed it all out, I didn't take another breath and very quickly I was desperate. All I was thinking was "touch wall, breathe". The more desperate I was to breath the harder I swam "touch wall, breath". When I got to this guys feet I knew I could no longer take a breath without coming to a dead stop in the water, that would have been incredibly humiliating. As I caught him it felt like I was climbing a hill and then right at the very end it was as though I was surfing down the wave of water.

My point is this, the only reason I killed myself was because of that coach. He understood what was going on, he understood his choice was being challenged, he understood his authority was being questioned, and he knew that his authority as coach was based on his being able to impart his faith into us. After that race no one questioned his choice of anchor, and we went undefeated that year. When I think back the only way a coach can do that is if he has "been there and done that". To me if you have never raised a family, then you are just a novice, you haven't "been there and done that". Perhaps you are still the best choice as elder, but the verse "you have many teachers but not many fathers" comes to mind. In the world fathers are not highly esteemed, in the church I believe they should be.
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:20 PM   #35
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To me if you have never raised a family, then you are just a novice, you haven't "been there and done that". Perhaps you are still the best choice as elder, but the verse "you have many teachers but not many fathers" comes to mind. In the world fathers are not highly esteemed, in the church I believe they should be.
Amen brother; they should be. It is not insignificant that we call God our Father, not insignificant that He came into this world a man who suffered the little children to come to Him. It is a blessing, and a tremendous responsibility to be a father...
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:48 PM   #36
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I think an elder has to be held in high regard to be effective. I am approximately 50, I have given myself to the Lord since my 13th birthday. It would be very difficult for me to hold an elder who is 40 in high regard. Personally I think I am disqualified from this position, but I do appreciate that those that aspire to this desire to do a good work. I think the 30 or 40 year old brother should be a deacon, not an elder.
I understand what you're saying. It would be difficult for me to take a young elder seriously. I would recognize their position, but is there maturity in life to match the function?
You noted you had been a Christian since you were 13. What I've been grappling with is taking seriosuly a brother who's been a Christian since the age of 34/35. Which is roughly 4-5 years ago. Now at 39/40 he's deacon at the Baptist church my family used to attend. Is 5 years enough time to be tested to bear being a deacon? Bear with me. Being a deacon in the SBC requires more responsibility than local church deacons. Primarily in the SBC they are charged with responsibility to visit (x) number of families. Of course to recieve this type of care, you need to become a member. Which my wife and I rejected. In our spirit, we believe being a member of the Body is sufficient to be received.
In aspects of relationships within the congregation, I could make a case these SBC deacons take on more responsibility than the general local church elder. This being said, how much time is sufficient as a Christian to truly be tested according to 1 TImothy 3:10?
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:40 PM   #37
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If you haven't caught on, I'm not directly arguing with you, but with a position that is so seriously focused on this one criteria out of 11 that it is being treated as the central theme of Paul's "who gets ot be an elder" discourse. And is the unstated topic of the thread rather than the general qualifications for elders. Whether you even considered the impact of having a discussion about raising children under the banner of who gets to be an elder is not clear. But besides a couple of quick remarks about two or three other items on the list, you have been totally focused on this one topic.
3:1Faithful is the saying, If a man seeketh the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 3:2The bishop therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, orderly, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3:3no brawler, no striker; but gentle, not contentious, no lover of money; 3:4one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 3:5(but if a man knoweth not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 3:6not a novice, lest being puffed up he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 3:7Moreover he must have good testimony from them that are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

OBW has made a good point, how do we rate these criteria, do any of them “disqualify” you or are they merely guidelines?

1. Without reproach – I think this is critical. For example, consider Ben Rothlessberger, he has not committed a felony and to my understanding there has not been any official crime committed by him at all. But, is he “without reproach”, definitely not. Now if you were to select an elder with this in his background you open up the church to major liability. If this elder were to molest a woman she could sue, not only the elder but also the congregation for knowingly putting such a man in this position. Also, suppose he didn’t do anything, but knowing his history a woman fabricated a story. I think this point, due to the liability, is definitely a cause for disqualification.

2. Husband of one wife – Many, many times elders will need to counsel couples who are struggling to stay together. Very often the fellowship will include a request that they seek reconciliation to stay together. In such a situation it would be damaging if a brother were remarried. “What about brother so and so” who is an elder. That said, it would be too much to disqualify a brother merely because his wife left him or even divorced him. That would give this woman authority to decide whether or not this man is an elder. However, even if she leaves him and even divorces him, as long as he does not remarry I would still consider him “the husband of one wife”. He could be “seeking a reconciliation” even if it were to take years. In such a situation his being an elder or leader of the church would not undermine the burden of the church that the couples be reconciled one to another.

3. Temperate – This one is probably only a guideline if the man is clearly not temperate. A man that is a hot head or erratic or unstable is certainly not someone that I would want to appoint as an elder. To me this is not suggesting a personality questionnaire, but rather if a man is mentally unstable don’t appoint him to the office of elder.

4. Sober-minded – This is similar to my understanding of temperate. Sometimes you can find people who are mentally ill, to all appearances they are normal and calm until you realize they are crazy. There is a movie called “A Team” in which we meet one mental patient who is pretending to be a doctor. He is like a counterfeit bill that is 90% accurate, but as you spend more time with him you realize how scary he is. I think if you appoint an elder that is not sober minded you are asking for a lot of trouble.

5. Orderly – Again, I don’t think this is in the sense of organized, but rather someone who does things in order. The opposite of “disorderly conduct”. Imagine the embarrassment if a church elder were arrested for disorderly conduct.

6. Given to hospitality – We expect that the church is generous, embracing, taking care of the poor and those in need. This verse to me is similar to where the Lord says that “he that is faithful in the least is faithful also in much”. This is a characteristic that I would love to see in an elder, but wouldn’t rule anyone out over.

7. Apt to teach – I do not understand this to mean the elder has been to seminary, or is a powerful speaker. Only that he is ready, willing and able to teach. Some people are terrified to stand up in front of a crowd. As long as the man is “apt” to teach I would be fine with him, even if he is not talented at speaking.

8. No brawler, no striker but gentle – A church leader is going to have to handle disputes, he must do it in a gentle way because the majority of church members are women, children and the elderly.

9. Not contentious – You don’t want an elder that is looking for trouble.

10. One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection in all gravity – I think we have discussed this in great detail.

11. Not a novice – We have also discussed this adequately (notwithstanding the question about a deacon).

12. Moreover he must have a good testimony from them that are without – For example, consider this Westboro Baptist Church of hate. They clearly do not have a good testimony from them that are without. They have clearly fallen into a snare and are bringing shame to Christians.
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:01 PM   #38
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Without reproach – I think this is critical. For example, consider Ben Rothlessberger, he has not committed a felony and to my understanding there has not been any official crime committed by him at all.
Now, hold on there, Mister Z, I was with you until this got a little personal.

Why don't we use any NYC sports figures as an example? Why did you have to pick on an Ohio boy like Big Ben living in Pittsburgh? Do NYC sports teams have an abundance of role models? Are all your athletes above reproach? Don't you got some exemplary character named A-Rod? What about Burress and his 6-shooter? Or Santonio and his brand of smokes?
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Old 03-11-2011, 05:44 AM   #39
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Good point, being in NY I might still be harboring a grudge for what they did to the Jets. So consider Isaiah Thomas, the former coach and GM of the Knicks. He was accused of sexual harrassment, but they settled out of court. If you prefer you can substitute him in for what I said about Big Ben.
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Old 03-11-2011, 08:16 AM   #40
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Now we can fellowship.
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Old 03-12-2011, 06:17 PM   #41
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ZNP,

Complain about my "one trick pony" reference if you will. But did you not see that it was about the direction of the thread and not just your posts? Yes, you did mention the other criteria. That was not disputed. It was the general discussion that was essentially skipping the whole thing.

But as you get older, you find that there are many times that you are put in positions where those in authority are younger than you. Yes, the very top positions are often among those who are close to retiring. But it in the trenches (such as in the local office of the national CPA firm) the partners and directors (non-equity at partner level) are upper 30s to mid 40s. I was probably 10 when the oldest one of them was born. And there are some aspects of managing people that they are not that good at. But among accountants, few are. Are the criteria for rising in the operations is not only managing people.

The elders at our church are all mid 40s into 60s. The one who has lead the group for much of the time has four grown, married children, the youngest being a couple of years older than my oldest. We started attending this place 23 years ago when our oldest was about 5. But at the time, there were few older than that man, then around 40. (It also is no small consideration that he is a seminary professor.)

And it is right to say that a wet-behind-the-ears kid is probably a poor choice. But when you see a home group that emerges into being a church, what do you have? Maybe nothing. It would be wise if such a group attached itself to another, larger group for the purpose of providing some of the needed help and maturity. Not saying to give up being the little assembly that it is, but by having the connections, there is a kind of sharing of resources. The two groups don't have to be absolutely on the "same page" to be of service to one another. I think that the original church in Columbus that is linked in with some community church is a pretty good example. They know that they are on different wavelengths on a few things, but seem OK with it.

And having let this sit for a while as I was writing off-and-on today, the most important thing in all that I have been concerned about is probably best summed up in this. While it is one thing to get into the faulty workings of the LRC for the purpose of exposing its hypocrisy, it seems that we too often turn to trying to pin down the operational side of "church" too much of the time rather than trying to pin down the my responsibility to Christ and to other Christians and to the world at large. And the biggest thing about my responsibility is about how I live. How I obey. How I pray. How I worship. How is my attitude. You probably get what I am saying. Instead, we finish saying what the LRC is doing wrong, then try to figure out how everybody else out to be doing it by our version of the yardstick.

The problem is that with the few we have engaged here, we don't agree on the yardstick. And some will be certain that they have it right. I freely admit that I do not know what is the way to do it. Overall, I'm fairly convinced that everything that we think we know so well should be opened up and completely reviewed. Not that I think that the result will be different, or not very different. But sometimes I realize that the fundamental core is the same, but what it really means is not what I thought. Hard to explain. But it does tend to cause external factors to fall away. Like the idea that ritual is simply bad. Or tradition. We were so ingrained against them simply because they existed. That is nonsense. The only problem with tradition or ritual is the heart of the participant. It is never simply bad because you can slap a label on it.

And when we get into the administration of the church, or more clearly, the assembly, we too often get very self-righteous about how we think it ought to be. How the "rules" are meant to be read and understood. And they may may ultimately be right. But worrying about how right we are in administering an assembly when our life has been so lopsided to the spiritual/inner-life and away from the practicality of living righteously now (and not after we get more dispensing or any other still-missing ingredient) somehow seems a little like letting ICU patients diagnose and treat themselves. Well, not quite so extreme. We need to be busy working on our lives and worrying less about everyone else's or trying to direct how churches decide who will do what. Are they perfect at that? Probably not.
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Old 03-13-2011, 07:52 PM   #42
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But as you get older, you find that there are many times that you are put in positions where those in authority are younger than you. Yes, the very top positions are often among those who are close to retiring. But it in the trenches (such as in the local office of the national CPA firm) the partners and directors (non-equity at partner level) are upper 30s to mid 40s. I was probably 10 when the oldest one of them was born. And there are some aspects of managing people that they are not that good at. But among accountants, few are. Are the criteria for rising in the operations is not only managing people.

The elders at our church are all mid 40s into 60s. The one who has lead the group for much of the time has four grown, married children, the youngest being a couple of years older than my oldest. We started attending this place 23 years ago when our oldest was about 5. But at the time, there were few older than that man, then around 40. (It also is no small consideration that he is a seminary professor.)
Don't think each situation can be pigeonholed. I can recall a few times the more spiritual brother was younger. In one locality there were two brothers in the flesh, yet the older of the brothers deferred to the younger because of his spiritual growth.
It does grind against our flesh whether in the churchlife or in our jobs when we have someone in a position of authority placed above us and whom we may recognize more as a peer than as an authority figure.
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:00 PM   #43
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Don't think each situation can be pigeonholed. I can recall a few times the more spiritual brother was younger. In one locality there were two brothers in the flesh, yet the older of the brothers deferred to the younger because of his spiritual growth.
It does grind against our flesh whether in the churchlife or in our jobs when we have someone in a position of authority placed above us and whom we may recognize more as a peer than as an authority figure.
Before I saw this post, I was again thinking about this due to working with one of my younger bosses today. My realization is that there are sometimes ways in which I feel that a suggestion to them that is in contradiction of where they think they are headed is not out of line. I realize that none of us are everything that we need to be. But I still respect them as my boss in all ways.

I had a longer reply, but the system hung up on me when I hit "Submit" and I lost it. So here is a shorter version (did I hear someone shout "hallelujah"?).

I have been realizing of late that while I feel that the engagement with the errors of the LRC is important, it is not to simply set them onto an alternate "this is it" but mostly to open their eyes to the totality of reasonable possibilities and the fact that some of their ways are truly error. I do not seek to correct them to a specific way as much as to direct them away from the error.

In the immediate topic, I believe that there is much to be said about the method of determining who is an elder in the LRC. But the real problem with the elders is mostly not the true elders who arose with the assembly but the ones pushed on the assembly from afar. That does not mean the locals are without error. But it is different.

But on a different aspect of the topic (and not the one you were talking about) I was reminded of an elder in Dallas (I believe that is still in the Metroplex) who had a daughter who thoroughly rebelled and eventually died, either directly or indirectly, as the result of drug abuse. Now there may be other reasons that I might give to qualify or disqualify him from being an elder, but I honestly do not say that this, in itself, is one of those reasons. If I had remained in the LRC and had a rebellious child, I would have considered him a must-see to discuss the issue. It is not important that he is seen a failing in a way. To me, the issue will be how he kept the rest of the family together. How he administered whatever love and discipline he did during the years of trouble. And even how he saw himself failing in those. That is the true measure of how he would administer the household of God. And that household is not a place where you simply drive everyone who is not perfectly in line away, or argue them into submission. There will be times where there are things within the church that are neither ideal nor worthy of expulsion. How you deal with that is the real "rubber meets the road" of administering God's household. It is not how well you drive away trouble or speak pleasant platitudes when everything is hunky dory.
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Old 03-15-2011, 08:06 PM   #44
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ZNP,

Complain about my "one trick pony" reference if you will. But did you not see that it was about the direction of the thread and not just your posts? Yes, you did mention the other criteria. That was not disputed. It was the general discussion that was essentially skipping the whole thing.

But as you get older, you find that there are many times that you are put in positions where those in authority are younger than you. Yes, the very top positions are often among those who are close to retiring. But it in the trenches (such as in the local office of the national CPA firm) the partners and directors (non-equity at partner level) are upper 30s to mid 40s. I was probably 10 when the oldest one of them was born. And there are some aspects of managing people that they are not that good at. But among accountants, few are. Are the criteria for rising in the operations is not only managing people.

I don't think a business is a good analogy for elder, which is why I pointed out the criteria for an elder is different from that for a CEO. I would think that a family is by far a better analogy. Generally the eldest son is given a key role (unless they are not up to the task), the father still has a bigger role, and the grandfather would be the "elder" in this analogy. The US is not very good with maintaining the family unit, but in Taiwan all the children with their wives and children would eat at the father's house (the grandfather). This is a good analogy. Businesses don't have small children and grandparents running around, churches do.

The elders at our church are all mid 40s into 60s. The one who has lead the group for much of the time has four grown, married children, the youngest being a couple of years older than my oldest. We started attending this place 23 years ago when our oldest was about 5. But at the time, there were few older than that man, then around 40. (It also is no small consideration that he is a seminary professor.)

We have several pastors where I meet that fit this description. But I would not consider them "elders". Most people that attend this church (there are several thousand) would not know who the elders were unless they have spent some time and become involved with the church.

And it is right to say that a wet-behind-the-ears kid is probably a poor choice. But when you see a home group that emerges into being a church, what do you have? Maybe nothing.

Maybe you have genuine brothers and sisters that shepherded, taught, and evangelized.

It would be wise if such a group attached itself to another, larger group for the purpose of providing some of the needed help and maturity. Not saying to give up being the little assembly that it is, but by having the connections, there is a kind of sharing of resources. The two groups don't have to be absolutely on the "same page" to be of service to one another. I think that the original church in Columbus that is linked in with some community church is a pretty good example. They know that they are on different wavelengths on a few things, but seem OK with it.

And having let this sit for a while as I was writing off-and-on today, the most important thing in all that I have been concerned about is probably best summed up in this. While it is one thing to get into the faulty workings of the LRC for the purpose of exposing its hypocrisy, it seems that we too often turn to trying to pin down the operational side of "church" too much of the time rather than trying to pin down the my responsibility to Christ and to other Christians and to the world at large. And the biggest thing about my responsibility is about how I live. How I obey. How I pray. How I worship. How is my attitude. You probably get what I am saying. Instead, we finish saying what the LRC is doing wrong, then try to figure out how everybody else out to be doing it by our version of the yardstick.

The problem is that with the few we have engaged here, we don't agree on the yardstick. And some will be certain that they have it right. I freely admit that I do not know what is the way to do it. Overall, I'm fairly convinced that everything that we think we know so well should be opened up and completely reviewed. Not that I think that the result will be different, or not very different. But sometimes I realize that the fundamental core is the same, but what it really means is not what I thought. Hard to explain. But it does tend to cause external factors to fall away. Like the idea that ritual is simply bad. Or tradition. We were so ingrained against them simply because they existed. That is nonsense. The only problem with tradition or ritual is the heart of the participant. It is never simply bad because you can slap a label on it.

And when we get into the administration of the church, or more clearly, the assembly, we too often get very self-righteous about how we think it ought to be. How the "rules" are meant to be read and understood. And they may may ultimately be right. But worrying about how right we are in administering an assembly when our life has been so lopsided to the spiritual/inner-life and away from the practicality of living righteously now (and not after we get more dispensing or any other still-missing ingredient) somehow seems a little like letting ICU patients diagnose and treat themselves. Well, not quite so extreme. We need to be busy working on our lives and worrying less about everyone else's or trying to direct how churches decide who will do what. Are they perfect at that? Probably not.
Well lets get back to your "young" elder. I am all for the young brothers and sisters to run meetings and to teach. When you are 35-55 you are quite strong, perhaps a 75-85 year old brother is not up to that. But, if you have a 40 year old brother in this position he needs to be in fellowship with some genuine elders. For example, it is not possible to lead a church without having to walk by faith. Paul tells us to "prove by testing". Very often you will be making tough choices and you are not sure if this is your bias or the Lord leading. This is why you need to be able to have the fellowship of those you trust. There are a lot of reasons why this brother would be an "elder". You would have to be a fool to not realize that jealousy and strife are very real factors, not only in the NT record, not only in the LRC, but in all of Christendom. Therefore, it is nice to have a 75 year old brother who does not have any motive other than to see the success of this congregation. This is why Grandfathers have so much credibility, what other motive do they have other than to see their family succeed? Also, how rare is it to actually have a grandfather, the husband of one wife, who has raised his children in good order? It certainly is not the norm.

Also, the idea that brothers who have raised up a congregation would cede their authority to some younger brother because he went to seminary strikes me as distinctly unscriptural. On the other hand if they took this brother under their wing because he is obviously very zealous for the Lord and desired to do a good work, that is great. But if that is the case surely he would receive the fellowship of the elders.
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Old 03-16-2011, 03:14 PM   #45
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Well lets get back to your "young" elder. I am all for the young brothers and sisters to run meetings and to teach. When you are 35-55 you are quite strong, perhaps a 75-85 year old brother is not up to that.
And here is the lack in the model we had in the LRC. Elder does not necessarily mean the teacher, although one of the criteria is apt to teach. But a teacher does not have to be an elder and an elder does not have to be a teacher. But elders should have oversight of what it taught. Someone has to decide what is allowed and what is refused. What is profitable and what is not.

But in the LRC, with rare exception, only the elders taught. That may not be entirely true anymore since there are the PSRP meetings where they regurgitate Lee's writings. The nearest thing to a teacher there is a dead man. But generally any other kind of teaching falls to the elders. no consideration that the gift(s) required.used to be an elder are not necessarily those that make a good teacher, evangelist, etc. The elder is truly one of the unsung heroes of the assembly. If all goes well, you may not know who they are and that is partly their doing. If it goes badly, you will find out who they are.

Like the group you mention, not many actually know who the current elders are. I know some, but not all. It does change over time. I do know that at least one of them preaches periodically (ignoring the fact that the senior pastor is also an elder — that was not true many years past). But I know that they are a sober-minded group that takes the condition of IBC, not just as a group but as individuals, quite seriously.
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Old 03-16-2011, 05:33 PM   #46
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And here is the lack in the model we had in the LRC. Elder does not necessarily mean the teacher, although one of the criteria is apt to teach. But a teacher does not have to be an elder and an elder does not have to be a teacher. But elders should have oversight of what it taught. Someone has to decide what is allowed and what is refused. What is profitable and what is not.

But in the LRC, with rare exception, only the elders taught. That may not be entirely true anymore since there are the PSRP meetings where they regurgitate Lee's writings. The nearest thing to a teacher there is a dead man. But generally any other kind of teaching falls to the elders. no consideration that the gift(s) required.used to be an elder are not necessarily those that make a good teacher, evangelist, etc. The elder is truly one of the unsung heroes of the assembly. If all goes well, you may not know who they are and that is partly their doing. If it goes badly, you will find out who they are.

Like the group you mention, not many actually know who the current elders are. I know some, but not all. It does change over time. I do know that at least one of them preaches periodically (ignoring the fact that the senior pastor is also an elder — that was not true many years past). But I know that they are a sober-minded group that takes the condition of IBC, not just as a group but as individuals, quite seriously.
I don't think the phrase "apt to teach" has to refer to giving a message. It sounds to me like an attitude. For example, suppose an elder preferred to have the young brothers share the message, but he liked to guide them, mentor them into taking more and more responsibility. Doesn't that suggest he is apt to teach? Likewise, suppose he likes to teach the young couples how to build a strong family life, isn't that "apt to teach"? Doesn't mean he would share the message every week. One of our elders has a couple of topics dear to his heart and he does teach these once a year, even though he is almost 80.
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Old 03-17-2011, 05:36 AM   #47
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I don't think the phrase "apt to teach" has to refer to giving a message. It sounds to me like an attitude. For example, suppose an elder preferred to have the young brothers share the message, but he liked to guide them, mentor them into taking more and more responsibility. Doesn't that suggest he is apt to teach? Likewise, suppose he likes to teach the young couples how to build a strong family life, isn't that "apt to teach"? Doesn't mean he would share the message every week. One of our elders has a couple of topics dear to his heart and he does teach these once a year, even though he is almost 80.
I would agree. Some of the best teaching in some ways is one-on-one. And just like the listed "gifts" to the body, someone with a particular burden is often the best to speak on that, even if they would speak on nothing else.
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Old 05-04-2011, 01:24 PM   #48
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Default Re: Overseers & Deacons

Having met with three fellowships at one time or another, the local churches, a baptist denomination, and now a community church, each has handled the functions and responsiblilties of elders/deacons differently.

This past Sunday I was at a newcomers luncheon for ones such as my family who began meeting with a community church. A sister who's also new to the community church raised an intriguing question about elders. What are their qualifications?
An elder whose home hosted the luncheon answered her with 1 Timothy. Read 1 Timothy and you'll read the qualifications. I asked the question, what about brothers who have been divorced. The brother pastor responded by distinguishing when the brother was divorced. Before or after salvation. Although in the pastor's time at the church, they've never had the issue come up. The elder who had been with the community church much longer added in they have had to disqualify brothers in the past because they've been divorced. I didn't probe any deeper if they go into reasons or not and left it at that. The pastor did add before a brother officially becomes an elder, the prospective elder is put to a vote with two-thirds approval being the benchmark.
As to the functions, responsibilities include church oversight, shepherding individual matters, caring for families, teaching, moderating home meetings, etc.
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